The app success story of software engineer Alex Genadinik who got more than 2 million app downloads helping other entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. Not only that, he is also 3 times best-selling Amazon author, a Udemy instructor with 90,000+ students and host of a popular business and marketing channel on Youtube.
1. Tell us about yourself and what are you working on?
I started out as a software engineer. I got a CS degree from San Jose State University and worked as a software engineer for a few years. But I was never happy working on other people’s project. I always yearned to work on my own ideas.
The problem was that my own ideas mainly failed because as a software engineer, I knew very little about business. So, in the beginning, I had many business disasters. Ouch!
As time went on, I began realizing that if only I had an experienced business mentor, I would have been able to avoid many of my mistakes.
That gave me the idea to build my mobile apps which act as a bit of a business coach and mentor to new entrepreneurs. The apps now have a cumulative number of approximately 2,000,000 downloads. You can check out my apps here on Google Play and here on App Store.
2. How did you come up with your app idea?
At the time I created the app, crowdfunding was becoming very popular and I wanted to make a crowdfunding app that would allow people to brainstorm and plan business ideas on the app and once they brainstormed the business ideas, they would be able to crowdfund those ideas right on the app.
But that was a mistaken model. People didn’t want to brainstorm business ideas with strangers and go into business with strangers. (Looking for app ideas? Check out how to come up with an awesome app idea.)
The only piece of the puzzle that was left was that they should do proper business planning. So that was what the app evolved into, a business starting and planning series of apps.
3. Did you validate your idea? If yes, how?
I actually went around and asked different people and business owners about my original mistaken idea. And most of them said they liked it. That goes to show that just talking to people isn’t real validation. In the end that original idea was a failed idea, I went to market with.
Plus, as many entrepreneurs, when someone does make a contradictory point to my existing ideas, it is easy to disregard their points.
I had to learn the hard way and wiggle out of my own mistakes after I launched the app. Again, this is one area where a good business mentor could have really helped. (Learn more about app idea validation here.)
4. How did you go about developing your app? What was your Minimum Viable Product?
I actually used my first app to learn to code apps. I was a software engineer before, but I never made apps. So making this app was a way for me to learn to make apps. It took me about a month to launch my first Android app
The initial version of the app was extremely basic. It didn’t even have a logo. It just had the Android man as the app icon.
But Android allowed me to launch that app as it was, and I began getting a trickle of downloads that same day. It was just one or two downloads a day, but to me that was amazing.
Over time, I kept improving that app, but my MVP was extremely basic. I was just happy to have the app live.
5. You had a great strategy for marketing your app. Tell us more about it.
One unique thing I did early on was, I enabled a chat feature in the app. The app users were able to chat with me directly about their business issues and questions.
I wasn’t the biggest business expert by any means, but I gave them time and care. I really took the time to think about their situations, and my users really appreciated that.
This, of course, resulted in much better than average reviews and with those reviews, my apps shot up in the app store rankings. (If you are looking for more reviews check out 6 growth hacking strategies to skyrocket app reviews.)
As the app scaled and grew, I wasn’t able to answer everyone’s questions. I later made this a paid feature and I later removed it entirely.
But in the beginning, the extra personal care and attention I gave people helped me get the extra reviews and social sharing to get my app to rank higher in the app stores and get downloads.
6. How do you make money with your apps? Paid or Freemium?
I have a unique strategy where I don’t monetize the app directly, but rather funnel users to other parts of my business.
I use the apps as a part of my overall funnel. The overall business makes $12-20k monthly depending on the month.
7. What’s next for you?
As many other people in the tech space, I am very interested in Cryptocurrency. In fact, I recently started giving huge discounts if people pay with Bitcoin.
I am also focusing full time on my Udemy courses. I’ve been taking coaching on my speech and presentation skills so I can create better courses. So 2018 seems like it will be full of filming and cryptocurrency for me.
I’ll also be doing a bit more book writing, but at the moment it looks like I’ll be doubling down on creating better courses and exploring cryptocurrencies.
I might also start a live show. It might take the form of FacebookLive or YouTube live.
8. What’s your advice for app disciples who are just starting out?
If you are just starting out, it is easy to get enthusiastic and excited about your app, but the app business like most other businesses is a long-term game. So persistence is key.
The app business isn’t about launching the app and seeing it grow like a rocket ship. The app business is more about being scrappy and improving every part of your app business.
This means improving your design, app speed, fixing bugs, improving monetization, improving your app marketing, UX and navigation, making sure the users use the apps on a regular basis and as much as possible, app store landing page conversion rate, and many more things.
Patience and attention to detail will be your long-term friends much more than short-term enthusiasm.
Also, plan ahead. Don’t get into wildly competitive niches. Take the time to plan your app idea.
Also, if you are not an app developer, you are at a disadvantage. So I recommend taking the time to learn to code if you can. It is a fantastic long-term skill to have and it will make your long-term app development much cheaper which will help you be more competitive long-term.
9. Where can we go to learn more about you?
I’ll be happy to hear from you. On my website you will be able to browse all my books, online courses, coaching options and find discounts and sales on various products.
10. What tools/books do you find indispensable for your app business?
When I was starting out, the single most useful tool was StackOverflow.com which helped me learn app development much faster than I would have without it. I might have even failed completely without that site.
Also, I found it helpful to interact with my peers. I recommend going to many networking events and meetups to meet like-minded people who are working on similar projects.
They don’t have to be working on apps specifically, but you should definitely build a network of other entrepreneurs.
|Developer Name||Alex Genadinik|
|App Name||Business Plan/ Problemio|
|App Description||Business idea and entrepreneurship|
|Pricing||Free (funnel users to other parts of business)|
|Revenue per month||$12,000 – $20,000|
|No. of people||1|
|Reason for success||Persistence, Paying great attention to users|
Did you like the above app success story? What is the one thing that will be your take away after reading the above? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you need to ask Alex something don’t hesitate to put it in the comments. He is a busy man but he enjoys helping other entrepreneurs.